Dressing Well for the World Wide Web

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2012 was a mon­u­men­tal year for me, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. One of the things that was trans­for­ma­tive for me was learn­ing to dress well after sev­eral false starts. If you know me, you know I came from a world of rock tees and torn jeans. Like many guys, the tran­si­tion to work wear was painful. I strug­gled with ill-fitting busi­ness casual, wore bad shoes and only got it right if I picked the wardrobe out with help from my wife. Jesse Thorn’s Put This On changed all of that for me in 2012.

I don’t remem­ber when exactly I started watch­ing and fol­low­ing Put This On. I devoured Sea­son 1 and have been fol­low­ing Sea­son 2 with great inter­est. I even bought a Sav­ile Row suit on eBay and had it tai­lored for me! Quite a leap for a guy who used to wear a torn (and awe­some) Sonic Youth “Sis­ter” tee to the office on a rou­tine basis.

Need­less to say, the series changed the way I viewed menswear. The mes­sage that clothes are impor­tant never sank in until I started to see that you didn’t need to spend a for­tune to present your­self in a man­ner that makes you stand out. Just know­ing how shirts, pants and jack­ets should fit goes a long way toward look­ing bet­ter and project con­fi­dence. The best part? I already had lots of great pieces hang­ing in my closet! You may, too.

As my col­lege buddy Tom told me once, “There’s no such thing as being over­dressed; there’s only look­ing good.” It was great advice, and I’m sorry I waited so long to take it. Please take this advice: if you’re a guy who wants to improve his wardrobe and doesn’t know where to begin, please visit putthison.com, watch all the videos and read it every day. You’ll be glad you did.

A New Look and Identity for Ramsayings

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As my per­sonal blog­ging iden­tity cri­sis con­tin­ues to evolve, I’m find­ing more than ever that pur­su­ing a niche is the only way to be truly suc­cess­ful with blog­ging. It’s been nearly 10 years since I launched the first ver­sion of Black­mail Is My Life on Blog­ger and I can hon­estly say that being a gen­er­al­ist who tries to incor­po­rate aspects of his per­sonal life is a fool’s errand, that is, unless you can ded­i­cate your heart and soul to it.

You know what’s com­ing next.

Yep, a new look and iden­tity for Ram­say­ings! Yes, I’m work­ing with my Inter­net super­friend Len Dam­ico on installing a new theme that I hap­pened across on Twit­ter this week­end (you should totally hire Len for what­ever you need that involves, you know, the web) and I’m going to focus on the social web here going for­ward. I know it’ll be a total snooze­fest for friends and fam­ily, but, you know, thought lead­er­ship is a thing that I prob­a­bly should invest some time in as I con­tinue to grow as a com­mu­ni­ca­tor on the social web.

The new theme? You know I get bored and it’s been almost two years since I installed the cur­rent theme. As much as I loved adding things like the Fol­low Suite with Roz’s help, it just doesn’t make much sense to have any­thing to speak of in the right rail. So I’ll try the new one for a while and see how it goes. Could be a really cool way for me to get more moti­vated to blog about the sort of work I do and my thoughts about how we’ll talk about brands in the future. Look­ing for­ward to think­ing about it more here.

Readers Crave Destinations

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Last Decem­ber I offered my two cents on what’s hap­pen­ing with blog­ging in response to Jere­miah Owyang’s provoca­tive post that pro­nounced the golden era of tech blog­ging dead. Now, I’m not sure how peo­ple feel about that a few months on, but some­thing that’s stuck with me is how we gather infor­ma­tion online today. Sure, we’re hav­ing lots of “con­ver­sa­tions,” but read­ers still crave destinations.

Good writ­ers know that in order to get any­one to look at any­thing online, you need a hook. When we share links on Twit­ter and Face­book, they’re only inter­est­ing if you can tease peo­ple to click into the story. We’re all writ­ing head­lines for every­thing we share with the online com­mu­nity. To me that means we still need blogs, websites…anywhere you can put lots of words and ideas next to each other.

We like info snack­ing, but we’re really picky eaters. Given the amount of infor­ma­tion that’s out there it’s only fair that read­ers only sam­ple what they like at the con­tent buf­fet. But make no mis­take, cura­tion takes more than the almighty “con­ver­sa­tion.” So, writ­ers, don’t despair: read­ers still crave the yummy con­tent that’s always made the web great.

Remember Your Passions

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Some­one con­tacted me recently to do a story about Bring Your A’s Game, my quest to bring the Oak­land Ath­let­ics back to Philadel­phia, and it really sparked my imag­i­na­tion about the cam­paign again. Last sum­mer was great: the A’s came back to town for inter­league; we had fun at Mem­phis Taproom’s beer gar­den, and we even ral­lied for a Sat­ur­day night game at the ball­park. I had a great time meet­ing peo­ple, young and old, and talk­ing to them about the A’s and base­ball and Philadelphia.

Then things stalled a bit. What do you do next? Sure, these things are long, drawn out affairs, so how do you get peo­ple to pay atten­tion to your story? The answer, at least for me, is to remem­ber the pas­sion that drove me to it in the first place. I want to con­nect Philadelphia’s rich base­ball his­tory to some­thing in the present. I want to get peo­ple excited about a crosstown rivalry that hasn’t existed in nearly 60 years. It’s not easy.

What awoke in me as I talked about what moti­vated me to start Bring Your A’s Game was the fun of it. Mostly when I talk about it, I expected peo­ple to have the kind of reac­tion Gargano did when I talked to him in the sum­mer of ’10, which is to say, com­i­cally neg­a­tive. I’m often stunned when peo­ple agree that Philadel­phia not only could sup­port two ball­clubs, but that it should. Maybe they don’t all like the Bring Your A’s Game page, but it’s a good feel­ing to not be laughed out of the court of pub­lic opin­ion. So I want to do more of it.

I men­tioned last week on the long neglected Bring Your A’s Game blog and now I’m seri­ous. I’d love to find new ways to con­nect to new audi­ences, espe­cially those that aren’t base­ball mad. I want to wage this con­ver­sa­tion with folks who don’t know any­thing about base­ball, but who like provoca­tive, dis­rup­tive ideas. If you know of such a forum, let me know and I’ll pre­pare accordingly.

The only way to truly real­ize your pas­sions is to engage oth­ers who don’t share them and invite them to join you. It’s invig­o­rat­ing and a vital way to keep the cre­ative juices flow­ing. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.

How’s 2012 Treating You?

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How’s 2012 treat­ing you so far? Things have been insanely busy here. I’ve been hack­ing my job like a boss so far and the out­come is just what I expected: a heap­ing pile of excit­ing, engag­ing work on my plate. Feel really lucky to be doing what I’m doing where I’m doing it. Can’t share too much, but I think many of you out there will be sur­prised by some of the things cook­ing at my day job.

Can’t stress enough to “cre­atives” that work is only as fun as you make it. Do good work and you’ll impress some­one. Phon­ing it in not only makes you mis­er­able, it also means you have noth­ing to show for your misery.

But enough about work.  Con­tinue reading